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Living costs for international students in Australia

A guide to money saving tips for international students planning or already studying in Australia.

How much are living costs for international students in Australia?

Of course, there is no definitive number or range that can be stated to cover every individual’s living costs as everyone’s circumstances and lifestyle choices will differ. However, as a minimum, in Australia, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has financial capacity requirements that International students must demonstrate an ability to comply with. For 2017, Students must be able to show that they can cover living costs of at least AUD$19,830 per year, and this increases if there are partners/spouses, and children that will be accompanying the student.

Using the government’s figure as a guide, a single student living away from home would require at least AUD$1652 per month to cover accommodation, food, utilities and entertainment and as previously noted, this is wholly dependent on your individual lifestyle choices.

How can I keep costs down whilst studying overseas?

Here are some of our top money saving tips for international students:

  1. Do as you would back home – shop around and do research to find the most cost-effective services and providers. Start by optimising on the money that you are sending from overseas by setting up a foreign exchange transfer with a provider that offers a competitive rate and the lowest fee for your particular situation. More often than not, you will find that non- banks offer the best rates and you may be able to save up to 6% by using a broker. BER has partner vendors that frequently offer excellent rates and low fees. Refer to our guide to Understanding Foreign Transfers Exchange Rates and Fees for more information or our cost calculator.
  2. Financial assistance may be available in the form of scholarships. As well as your university’s scholarship list, check out private businesses too. FYI, BER has launched it’s first merit based scholarship for overseas students 2018.
  3. If you’re being sent money from overseas to pay for utilities, or vice versa if you’re sending
    money to a bank account back home, make sure you use a specialist overseas money
    transfer provider. By using a specialist provider to make a money transfer, like WorldFirst, you could receive exchange rates up to seven times cheaper than the big 4 banks.
  4. Spend less on textbooks by utilising the university library and buying any books that you really need to own second hand. Most university towns and cities will have specialist second-hand bookshops. Good to know for reselling when the time comes! It may also be worth keeping an eye on the university notice board for books on sale.
  5. Do your supermarket shopping at the end of the day when the special offers and discounts are put on fresh deli products and staples such as bread.
  6. Ask for student discount everywhere you shop. Many places offer student discounts on the quiet so always ask.
  7. Sign up to voucher websites such as Groupon. Discounted offerings change frequently and range from yoga classes to meals out and home appliances.
  8. Read Time Out magazine for your respective city to find free entertainment.
  9. If you’ve completed your studying and are moving back overseas – sell your books, furniture and anything else you’re loathe to ship or no longer have a need for on the student notice board or websites such as Gumtree or Facebook.
 
Please note that the opinions of our authors are their own and do not reflect the opinion of Best Exchange Rates and should not be taken as a reference to buy or sell any financial product.